Amy and Lyn are married to brothers and both have 5 kids. I've been close friends with them for years, and they're also in our couples bible study. I thought it would be interesting to put their guest interviews together in one post. It's funny to think back to when they were trying to get me to eat healthier and I wasn't buying it for a minute. I thought it all sounded like too much time and too much money with no guarantees it would make a difference anyway. If only I'd listened more and stopped feeding my family all the junk sooner! Remembering how wrong I was then and how unwilling I was to change at the time, helps me these days to have more patience with those who feel the way I did back then.
1. What is your #1 motivation for feeding your family healthier meals?
Lyn: My #1 motivation is for sickness & disease prevention. I love to cook and I really love when others love what I cook, it's my esteem booster. When I make soups or casseroles with a chicken broth base that I made myself, I just feel like I'm curing and preventing all that ails them. It's amazing how empowered you feel when you make things from scratch and really know what you're eating.
Amy: My #1 motivation to feed my family healthier more nutritious foods is to maintain better health. My goal is to have my family's bodies work the way God created them to work, without the assistance of medicines to “cure” preventable diseases.
2. What got your started on your path to better nutrition?
Lyn: I got started on my path to better nutrition through influence and information from friends. We all just started digging into things at about the same time. We started by getting rid of bad peanut butter and checking labels to make sure what we were buying had no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup and it just kind of exploded from there. There were times that I would think I was “doing the right thing” and one of my friends would tell me that they just read that what I thought was right was actually “bad”. It was quite frustrating at times, but once you start down that path of better nutrition and healthy eating, there's really no turning back.
Amy: My path to better nutrition started after I began experiencing my own health problems, during my mid-thirties. I also wanted to promote a healthy perspective on nutrition to my five girls.
3. What is your biggest struggle in feeding your family healthier meals?
Lyn: My biggest struggle is the cost and the time it takes to feed my family healthy meals and snacks. Although I totally believe it's worth it, sometimes I just wish I could “pop open a can” or “throw the cardboard package in the oven”, but I just can't bring myself to do that any longer. I spend the majority of every day in my kitchen. Seems like once breakfast is done and cleaned up, I'm already thinking about dinner preparation. And, because of the way I cook, there's always a dishwasher full and more dirty dishes and pans piled up in the sink waiting to be cleaned.
Amy: My biggest struggle in feeding my family healthier foods is weighing the time and effort it takes to prepare the food to their degree of satisfaction. In some ways it has simply taken them time to get used to the new flavors and textures, but we still have some struggles. For instance, if I have store milk in the fridge for some reason, the girls will use that before they grab the “fresh” milk. However, they will drink “fresh” milk if it's the only thing around, but not much of it. Some girls are pickier than others, and they all like different things. I have yet to find something that is fairly easy to make that they like for lunches. In a different type of “peer pressure”, they complain that they don't get “fun” stuff in their lunches, “like the other kids do”. But then, in the end, they will agree with me on the importance of eating healthy.
4. What is your favorite healthy meal?
Lyn: My favorite food to prepare is soups. I love to have a pan or crock pot full of yummy soup cooking all day. Plus, pretty much everyone in my family likes soups, or at least tolerates them, so I don't get a lot of negative feedback from the tots. Also, see the recipe I gave Kelly for French Stew. (Update: Lyn's tortilla soup and mushroom chicken main dish recipe!)
Amy: My favorite recipe is Honey Balsamic Chicken. That is one dish that everyone in my family enjoys. I took a standard recipe and use pasture-fed chicken and organic ingredients. It includes red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, spices, honey and olive oil. Favorite healthy junk food: Coleman Hot Dogs, purchased at Costco, with no nitrates, nitrites, MSG, fillers, etc. UPDATE: see this post about hot dogs that are even better: they're GRASS-FED!
5. What is your best kitchen/nutrition tip?
Lyn: My best kitchen/nutrition tip is to boil whole chickens or breasts with the bones for about an hour or more and then take all the meat off and throw the carcass and skin back into the water to make broth. I then cube some of the meat and shred some of the meat and put it in freezer bags in 2-cup portions for quick use later for soups and casseroles. After making the broth, I freeze that in some 2-cup, 1-cup and 1/2-cup (put in cupcake pan and freeze) portions to keep in the freezer for later use as well.
Amy: My best tip time-saving tip is using an entire afternoon to make quite a few meals at once. For instance, if I'm cooking with pasture-fed beef, I'll make sloppy-jo's, chili, meatloaf, etc., in one afternoon. We'll eat one selection for dinner, and then freeze the other selections. Other days, I'll make double portions of the entree we'll have that night and freeze one for later. This takes some planning ahead and a day where I have a huge chunk of time, but it's worth it in the long run.
One more: I have started using parchment paper to line baking pans, instead of using those “convenient”, unhealthy non-cooking sprays. Well, recently I decided that I would also use parchment paper to line the inside of a gallon plastic ziploc bag when freezing food. I thought the parchment paper might act as a barrier between the plastic and the food, thus preventing the chemicals from leaching into the food. (I buy the 100% unbleached parchment paper from the co-op. It lasts quite a long time, considering the amount I use it.)
6. What did you have for dinner last night?
Lyn: Okay, this is why I'm filling out my interview tonight. I am always envious of people who can “create” their own recipes. While I consider myself a good cook, that really means I can follow a recipe well. Tonight I realized I actually have a recipe that we all love, and that I created myself!! Here goes: cook whole wheat fettuccine or linguine noodles according to package. Once cooked, put about 1/2 – 1 Cup pesto (you can make your own, but I buy it at Costco and it's really good) on the pasta and stir in and set aside. In a stainless steel frying pan (a big one) saute' some chicken and/or shrimp in olive oil. Once the meat is cooked, add artichokes and black olives and cook a while longer. Then, stir in more pesto, enough to have a light coating on everything. Serve on top of the pesto fettuccine and sprinkle with fresh shredded parmesan. It's delicious. Side note – my little one's don't like artichokes or shrimp, so I make a little side pan of just chicken, black olives and pesto for them.
Amy: Last night we had chicken soup (we like it without noodles). I cook the pasture-fed chicken with the bones attached to get a good broth. Then use organic vegetables and spices for the rest of the ingredients. We also had leftovers.
7. What about Kelly annoys you the most? (Note from Kelly: here's a couple of the friends I was telling you about, who aren't afraid to be good and honest on this question!)
Lyn: Kelly can be a bit pushy and I think most people close to her would classify her that way – if she feels passionate about something she will “drive her point home” until you feel the passion with her! But, I have to say, sometimes I need my friends to be pushy with me, because I need extra motivation now and again. I consider Kelly to be one of my dearest friends, love everything about her, even her pushiness!! Hey, if she didn't have the passion, we wouldn't all be privileged to all her free hours of research that she entitles us to on her blog. Keep up the good work, Kel, better you than me!!!
Amy: There really is only the one thing that “annoys” me about Kelly: when she asks me to answer questions for her blog, a job that I really don't have time to do! Otherwise, I think she's a real peach!
- Do you get slammed by others for eating healthy? Read about Life changes, and 5 ways they're all the same…see if you agree with me or if you know of any more similarities? If so, leave a comment at that post!
- Overweight kids – 16 ways to help
- Try this yummy, healthy smoothies recipe, then freeze them into popsicles for the kids to eat later!
- Why everyone should take cod liver oil (capsules are OK too!)
- School lunches – healthy alternatives
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
We had Amy’s “favorite junk food” tonight – the Coleman hot dogs – they were very good. I made homemade hot dog buns and those turned out great, too: https://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/02/recipe-for-easy-homemade.html
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
I know what you mean and share your frustration that choosing to do one good thing almost always means you’re not able to do another good thing.
I can barely keep up on things, and my jobs are at home – if thinking about healthy meals is even on your radar while working outside the home, you’re doing better than many busy moms!
One idea, maybe you could try what Amy suggested and take one Saturday a month and get a lot of meat prepared ahead of time for recipes…just a thought.
Let’s say a prayer for each other, and for all Moms, that we continue choosing to fit in the right “good things” in our lives: time with our kids! 🙂
I love the comment about “peer pressure”. My children have asked me why others can have several treats in their lunch? The children and I talk about how our bodies are a gift from God and that we need to take care of them.
I to have heaping piles of dishes in the sink. I work outside the home and rarely have a 1/2 hour to put meals together. If I set aside more time in the kitchen to prepare better meals, I’m loosing one-on-one time with my children.
Thank you for the great food and preperation tips!
Michigan Mom2three says
I can totally relate to Lyn when she mentioned the dishwasher running and the sink full of dishes waiting to be loaded! While I have learned how to incorporate scratch, healthy cooking into my lifestyle, what I haven’t gotten a hold of is to deal with the dish machine! Real cooking requires dishes, and often lots of them! I have just accepted it as part of life though. I suppose it makes sense…..
I can’t wait to try the recipes too!